Sunday, January 07, 2007

Hitting the Slopes

I could claim true Minnesotan status if I wanted to, since I was born in Saint Cloud and lived in Waite Park until I was nearly six years old. But in truth, most of my heart lies in Nebraska where I spent much of my youth and young adulthood. Even though it is a mostly flat state devoid of any true national significance (dave for the inventions of Kool-Aid and 911), it was my home, and those are, as most people would say, the ties that bind. But living in Minnesota for the past two and a half years has been a great experience, and though I don't know where we will be in five, ten, or twenty years, I have to say that this state sure does have its own unique appeal.

One thing about the residents up here: they like themselves some outdoors. No matter the season, the people up here are continually scrambling to get outside and do stuff, and one of the most highly-regarded winter activities is skiing. Growing up in Nebraska I had never skied in my life, nor even set foot on a ski slope until yesterday. That's right, folks...I finally tasted the thrill of downhill skiing.*

I was invited to go with a local outdoor club on a trip to Welch Village, one of many such downhill places near the Twin Cities. Not knowing the first thing about skiing, I took the most basic of all basic lessons which included how to put on ski boots, how to put the boots into the skis, and how to walk forward with skis on. It certainly was humbling (I was at least 15 years older than all the people with me in the lesson) but also very helpful, as I was going down the green (i.e. slow and easy) hills in no time. By the end of the day I was adept at turning, stopping, and all-around control of my body and its faculties while on those two skinny plastic mouldings.

The entire experience was great fun, and I hope to be able to do it again soon. It reminded me of my first time on a jet ski, or waterskiing, or even driving--a sense of unrelenting speed and control that, when harnessed, becomes exhilarating. I can see why people like it so much. :)

*Yes, I realize I used the word "ski" three times in two consecutive sentences. But sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.


jessrings said...

Sounds like you didn't even need the gloves!!! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I remember when we first moved to Minn when I was in 7th grade and my uncle Tom was teaching Matt and I how to ski within about two months of our arrival. It's bred into 'em.

charlotte said...

Hi Simon,

I enjoyed reading about your skiing experience. Reminds me of my one and only skiing experience, about 42 years ago, on Powder Ridge in Kimball,MN. It was about zero degrees, skiing in the evening, and one of the most fun activities of my life up till then. I've been in colorado often, but never skiied again. Now I'm chicken.